LANGLEY BULLACE Introduced by Veitch's nursery at Langley, Buckinghamshire, around 1902, though closer to a damson than a bullace. The vigorous trees are tall with twisted branches and are prolific croppers. The fruit is oval, medium sized and blue-black with a distinct damson flavour. It is ripe in early November. Middle flowering.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

LATE TRANSPARENT Bred by Thomas Rivers’ nursery at Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, from the old Transparent Gage, and introduced in 1888. Golden skin and greenish yellow flesh, which is very juicy and very sweet. It is ripe at the end of September. The habit is less vigorous than most. Late flowering. Self Sterile.

 

 

LAXTON’S GAGE Introduced in 1919, by the ‘Laxton Brothers’ nurseries of Bedford. It is believed to be a cross between Old Greengage and Victoria, and was an attempt to breed a hardier gage, partially successful. The trees are vigorous and self-fertile, but crop heavier with cross pollination. It flowers mid-season, fruiting at the end of August. Fruit is a little larger than some, clear yellow when ripe, soft, juicy and well flavoured. Middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

MANACCAN A chance seedling found and grown in the Manaccan and Kea districts of Cornwall, one of many such wild plums long grown there, though Manaccan is considered to be the best. The self fertile, readily suckering trees produce medium sized oval fruit with yellow, pink flushed skin, and apricot flesh. The flavour is rich and acid and is still much prized for jam. The plums are pleasant to eat when fully ripe. It fruits well in part shade. Ripe in September. Early to Middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

MARJORIE’S SEEDLING Its early origin is unknown, but it was believed to have been found in Berkshire by G.W. Layley at Hillfoot Farm 1912. The National Fruit Trials received it in 1928 and it was introduced to the trade in 1943 by Burleydam Nurseries, Staffs. The large blue-black fruit is mainly popular for cooking and preserving, until fully ripe when it is a very pleasant eating plum.. Fruit is ready from late September to October. Trees are vigorous with good crops. Mainly self fertile. Late flowering.

 

 

 

 
             

 

McLAUGHLIN’S GAGE An American gage raised by James McLaughlin in Maine around 1840 and introduced to Britain later that century. The medium-large greenish yellow fruit, with russet dots, has a rich flavour. Pick from mid-August. Self-sterile. Early to middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MERRYWEATHER Raised by Merryweather Nurseries in Nottinghamshire and introduced around 1907. The fruit is larger and rounder than most damsons and there is probably some plum in its ancestry, but it has the true damson flavour. It fruits in early September and is mainly self fertile. Middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIRABELLE DE NANCY One of the mirabelles, small rounded plums with a very sweet flavour. Mirabelle Petite has been known in France at least since the 17th century. Mirabelle De Nancy, is an old form producing larger ‘mirabelles’ in late August. They are golden yellow, flushed pink and with an excellent flavour. A dessert fruit, but also long used for preserves and in pastry dishes. Excellent crops. Middle flowering.

 

 

 

 

 
             

 

MISSENDEN ABBEY An old damson and one of the last vestiges of a large fruit growing area, surrounding the Abbey, which was founded in 1133, was then destroyed in the ‘Dissolution’ under Henry VIII, later rebuilt and then destroyed by fire. Almost nothing now remains of the historic buildings and the orchards which surrounded it to the west faded away. ‘Orchard Square’, in 1870, became ‘The Square’ in the 1880s, leaving just a small orchard, still attached to the abbey grounds, and a line of damson suckers, now trees, on the land of Abbey Farm, owned by Mr and Mrs Frank Pearce. Concerned for the survival of the remaining trees, they contacted George Lewis of Prestwood Nature, who alerted us. A good old local damson, with all the expected qualities, sweet and sharp, and seemingly mid-season.

 

 

 

 

NORTH HILLS There are many local varieties of damson spread throughout the country, right up to the borders with Scotland, and there are two, now growing wild on the Common, at Brill, in Buckinghamshire, a village close to us. This one grows on the north side of the hill that Brill is built upon. Very hardy. Middle flowering. *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLD GREENGAGE Also called Reine Claude and Greengage. It is a population rather than a variety since it comes reasonably true from seed, having been interbred for centuries. It is called Reine Claude after the wife of the French King Francis 1st, 1494-1547. It came originally from Armenia, via Greece, but has been known in France since the late 15th century and in England since at least the late 16th century. It was mentioned by Parkinson as Verdoch, suggesting it might have arrived here via Italy. It has since been known as Verdoccia. In 1724 Sir William Gage, who had a garden at Hengrave Hall in Bury St Edmunds, acquired the green fruit but his gardener lost the label. It then became known as a green ‘Gage’. Medium sized fruit with transparent flesh, flushed amber. If eaten when exactly ripe, it is said to have the best flavour. Ripe in late August. There are conflicting claims on self fertility. Crops can be irregular. Middle flowering.